Gift bags are a great way to show your guests some love and thank them for attending your wedding. From sunglasses to tequila, what you put in your gift bag can vary and show your guests a bit of local culture.
When planning a destination wedding, a gift bag (though not a requirement!) can be an opportunity to give your guests a little something to remember the wedding, the location and the local culture. It’s also a great time to give them the things they might have forgotten (and desperately need) back home.
1. Bug spray: Mosquitos can be annoying, but in some parts of the world their bites can also cause memorable illnesses (the bad kind of memorable…). Keep your guests safe with bug spray.
2. Sunscreen: Who wants to return from a great wedding with a nasty sunburn?
3. Local spirits: Most regions in the world have their own special concoctions. For example, when getting married in Mexico, choose a local tequila or mezcal and give out small bottles.
4. Bottled water: This is a necessary one. If guests are traveling to your destination wedding and you know the water might be unsafe to drink, or if you can expect high altitude/heat/humidity at your destination, give them some of the good stuff so no one gets sick.
6. Breath mints or chewing gum: Weddings are great places to meet people, so give them a head start with good smelling breath. Deodorant may be a bit too intimate (though in certain place it might be appreciated!).
7. Local maps + how to get around: If you’re traveling in a new city, it’s great to have a local map and info about how to get around. Include local bus line recommendations and taxi costs as well as other transportation like bike rentals or walking guides.
8. Welcome letter: Include the wedding day schedule, event locations, and phone numbers of friends/family they should contact for info on the day-of. You’ll be busy and you don’t want to be answering your phone all the time. We also included suggestions for things to do or see when you’re not busy with wedding stuff.
9. Safety guide: Every guest wants to have fun at your destination wedding, but they also want to stay safe in a new place. Throw a few tourist guides in there and make sure they include local emergency numbers like police, fire department and EMS. Some common sense guidelines for your area can prove invaluable too (e.g. “it’s fine to walk alone here at night up until 2am,” or “do not leave your wallet in a pocket here,” etc.
10. Sandals/Flip-Flops: Ah yes, this is a gift many couples love to give. It’s also something your guests may have forgotten. Show their feet some love!
11. The Gift Bag itself: we printed up our own canvas gift bags. They weren’t expensive and we still use them – they’re a great memento as well as being useful.
12. Local non-perishable snacks: There are always unfamiliar but delicious, or even downright strange local versions of familiar things. It could be as simple as flavors of chips you’d never find back at home. Or here in New Orleans, Pralines.
13. Coupons to local businesses: Small merchants LOVE weddings and tourists. Many will be all too happy to offer a discount to your guests, especially if they know you or one of your local friends/planners. We had some restaurateurs we loved in San Miguel de Allende, and hooked them up where we could with business from our guests. Win for both sides.
14. Hangover Kit: This includes some much needed health items for your guests. Throw in some headache remedies for the post wedding morning + vitamin water (we love Emergen-C packs).
15. Wedding invitation as a souvenir: When planning a destination wedding with family living around the globe, it’s difficult (and expensive) to send out invitations and hope anyone gets them. Skip the stamp licking and add those invitations to the gift bags as a great souvenir.
Now it’s your turn: These are some things that worked for us. Every occasion and budget is different. We (and our couples) would love to hear your great stories, thoughts, brilliant ideas that missed the target, whatever. We hope this helps somehow – if so, let us know that too!